Ryanair's New Special Boeing 737s Will Have Even Less Legroom

Illustration for article titled Ryanairs New Special Boeing 737s Will Have Even Less Legroom

Ryanair and Boeing have just finalized an order for 100 brand-new 737 MAX aircraft, but there's something unique about these planes, dubbed the 737 MAX 200. They'll be cramming up to 200 seats into a space usually occupied by only 175 seats.

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This new MAX variant, dubbed the MAX 200 (for its seating capacity) is based on Boeing's new 737 MAX-8, which is the same size as Boeing's current 737-800 model. By comparison, Southwest Airlines' 737-800s are fitted with 175 seats in an all-economy configuration. According to SeatGuru, Ryanair's current 737s have an average 30-inch seat pitch, while the new MAX 200s will probably be 28 inches at most seats.

Illustration for article titled Ryanairs New Special Boeing 737s Will Have Even Less Legroom
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Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary says this "game changer" aircraft will allow Ryanair to keep its operating costs and fares low, because the operating cost per seat will be twenty percent lower. Ryanair is Europe's largest low-cost carrier, and currently operates 300 of Boeing's 737-800s. Boeing says the high-capacity MAX 200 was developed to meet the needs of a fast growing low-cost sector.

This new order takes Boeing's 737 MAX to 2,550 total orders, and it hasn't even flown yet. The first MAX is expected to be delivered to Southwest in late 2017.

Top photo via David Precious, smaller photo by jbarcena (Flickr / CC Commercial License)

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Paul Thompson is a aviation journalist with over 13 years of experience working in the airline industry, who maintains the website Flight Club for Jalopnik.com. You can contact Paul to submit story ideas, your own "Plane Porn" photos, and comments regarding this or any other aviation topic via email at Paul@Jalopnik.com

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DISCUSSION

rdr0b11
David Ruddock

Honestly, even at 6'1", if the flight time is less than 3 hours (so, <1500 miles), fuck it. I'll buy the cheapest ticket. I don't care if I'm crammed into a tiny seat, as long as I have my phone, tablet, and headphones. I've put up with a United Express ERJ-145 where my head is practically hitting the ceiling if I'm at a window seat. This can't be that much worse.

Any more than that, and yeah, I'm going to start looking at seat pitch and width and amenities, and I'll pay for the extra room - out the nose if need be - because it's worth it.

Consumers will vote with wallets. Ultra low-fare short-haul airlines like RyanAir will likely never expand beyond a few key long-haul routes because they are extremely price-sensitive. When you're talking about a round trip $200 fare, yes, most people will take the $160 fare over the $200 fare because that's a 20% difference. Easy cost-benefit evaluation for most folks.

When you're talking about a $1500 fare, the cheapies just can't keep up that proportional level of discount. Fuel is a substantially greater portion of the cost to the airline on long-haul trips, so there are only so many amenities you can cut and seats you can create to get your fare significantly cheaper than the other guy. $1400 vs $1500 on an intercontinental flight is not a call most consumers will make on price alone, they're going to see what their money is buying.

Yeah, short-haul air travel is getting less comfortable these days, but it is staying pretty cheap, and honestly, for a 2, or even 3 hour flight I've got much better things to spend my money on than legroom.

10 hours? Yeah, sign me up for the premium economy, please, and keep the whiskey and cokes flowing.